Present. Aware. Focused.

These are words I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Last week I made a commitment to start shutting my phone off for at least an hour each evening. I have to do this to be present. I’m a Twitter junkie, even worse than Facebook or Instagram. It would be embarrassing if you knew how many times I’ve had someone standing in front of me trying to talk to me about something and I’m missing most (if not all) of what they are saying because I’m catching up on Twitter.

Workaholism is just as bad. I’m not sure that’s a word. Just go with it. It’s Saturday afternoon, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, and instead of relaxing, unwinding, being social, or even doing something like spending time reading my Bible, I’m working on administrative detail stuff for something that can wait.

I have a really bad habit of not being present. So the question is, if I have someone human in my face looking me in the eye and I can’t focus on them, what does my prayer life look like?

Mark 1:35 comes to mind. “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Even Jesus knew the importance of finding a place to be present with God. Jesus had just come off of a busy day. He added some new people to His team, He cast out an evil spirit, He healed a lot of people, He taught crowds. So the next morning, He needed to be refreshed.

Why? He had to get alone and be present with God so that He could be present for people. So he interrupted the busyness and craziness and found some quiet and solitude.

I’m going to work hard to get better at being present. With God, with people. Intentionally tuning out distractions is a starting point, but there’s a lot more to it.

I’m curious, what intentional steps have you taken to be present? What have you done to eliminate or marginalize distractions? Share some things that have worked for you.